MASSENA - Rob Astorino, the Republican candidate for governor, was in Massena on Monday talking to prospective voters and campaigning along the two-plus mile parade route during the community’s Labor Day celebration.
Prior to the parade, Mr. Astorino, who currently serves as Westchester County executive, said he was glad to be in Northern New York and particularly Massena for Labor Day. He met with union officials Sunday night at Violi’s Restaurant.
“This is an important area,” he said. “The north country is a very important region, and it has been overlooked for a long time. I was in Massena in April and I will be coming back again in a couple of weeks during a three-day north country swing.”
The Republican candidate is expected to face incumbent Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in November.
But the incumbent governor first faces a Democratic primary challenge next week from Zephyr Teachout. There were a trio of marchers in the Solidarity Day parade carrying a banner promoting Ms. Teachout’s campaign, but there were no signs on the parade route supporting Gov. Cuomo.
The New York state AFL-CIO opted not to endorse Gov. Cuomo prior to the Democratic primary when they met last week in New York City. The New York State United Teachers, in a vote last month, opted not to endorse any candidates in the race for governor.
The most recent poll results, released in early to mid August, showed Mr. Cuomo leading Mr. Astorino by a two-to-one margin. A Quinnipaic Poll showed the incumbent governor with a 56 percent to 28 percent lead over his challenger, while a Sienna College poll had Mr. Astorino trailing Mr. Cuomo by a 58 percent to 26 percent margin.
Mr. Astorino marched along side State Senators Joseph A. Griffo and Patricia Ritchie with members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2032.
He left the group at points during the parade and worked the crowds on the Main Street sidewalks for much of the parade route.
Also marching with the IBEW were St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells and Assemblywoman Addie Jenne Russell .
Mr. Astorino said he was marching with the IBEW employees, who work for the Power Authority, because he was invited to do so.
“When the IBEW invited me to march with them, it took me a second to say yes,” he said, he adding he is a union member himself and has been a union member for the past 20 years.
“My credentials with unions are very strong,” he said, noting that while serving in his current job he has worked to maintain a balance between “what taxpayers can afford and the services they want.”
Since becoming county administrator in Westchester County, Mr. Astorino said the county has cut property taxes and created 30,000 new private sector jobs.
Westchester County, he said, has the highest credit rating in the state and one of the state’s lowest unemployment rates.
While Mr. Astorino said he realizes he has work to do, should he be elected governor, he also said he sees potential in St. Lawrence County.
“There are so many resources here,” he said. “You have the St. Lawrence River, low-cost power and people willing to work. The problem is the policies coming out of Albany are disruptive.”
Mr. Astorino said, “We have the worst business climate and the worst economic outlook. It’s the worst state to retire in. It’s the worst state for small business, it’s the most corrupt state in the nation, and we’re led by a governor who is under federal investigation.”
Citing a variety of reports from several different sources, people campaigning with Mr. Astorino were handing out leaflets reiterating much of what Mr. Astorino said.
“Under Andrew Cuomo NY ranks dead last, 50th in the country in things that matter,” the leaflet charged.
It suggested New York has the highest taxes in America, the worst business climate in America, the most corrupt government in America, the second highest electricity costs in the country, the greatest population loss in the United States and has been named the worst place to retire in America.
He said those points are evidence the state is headed in the wrong direction under the leadership of Gov. Cuomo.
“The proof of this is 400,000 New Yorkers have left the state in the past three-and-a-half years,” he said.
“We need to dramatically change course and create an economy where people can get back to work and people can afford to live in this state.”
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